In his autobiography, Garry Marshall (who played the casino manager) wrote that he was initially exasperated by Albert Brooks demanding take after take of their scene. But once he saw the rushes and realized that his frustration made his character funnier, he deferred to Brooks's comic judgment.
Considered a "yuppie" version of Easy Rider (1969). The picture uses that film's famous song "Born to Be Wild" in the movie whilst the favorite film of the motorcycle-cop who pulls over the Howards is also Easy Rider (1969). Albert Brooks has said that the film intentionally plays on on the notion of the 1960s Easy Rider (1969) generation dropping out again in the 1980s but this time as "yuppies" not "hippies". The David Howard character actually says in the film that they should drop-out "like in Easy Rider (1969)".
The film was originally developed for ABC Motion Pictures but by the time the script was finished the company had folded and a new financier was sought which ended up being David Geffen's The Geffen Company.
Bill Murray was considered for the lead role of David Howard but due to Murray being heavily booked at the time, co-writer/director Albert Brooks decided to not delay the film a year and play the part himself.
The films co-writers would actually work on the script for this road movie whilst on the road. Albert Brooks and Monica Mcgowan Johnson would talk into a recorder whilst driving in a car then transcribe and re-work on paper later.
The use of an original Frank Sinatra song, "New York, New York", was one of the production's big successes. Albert Brooks has said that at that time he believed that Sinatra had not allowed use of his recording of the song in a movie that he did not also appear in. Brooks wrote a letter to Sinatra's attorney Mickey Rubin and then wrote a subsequent letter to Sinatra himself from which rights to the song for the film were secured.
For the cross country across America shoot, thirty cast and crew were crammed into just two Winnebagos staying overnight in cheap motels. Actor-writer-director Albert Brooks has said: "We got about as far as Phoenix [, Arizona] before everyone stopped talking to each other."
The Howards make a cross-country American trip in the film going from the East Coast to the West Coast but in reality during principal photography the picture was actually shot in the storyline's reverse going from the West Coast to the East Coast.
The scenes shot at America's famous concrete arch-gravity Hoover Dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River were filmed on both its Nevada and Arizona sides of the site which was formerly once known as the Boulder Dam.
Many of the shots of the American cross-country trip were filmed from camera placements set up in usually one of three perspectives: road-side set-ups; a camera car traveling parallel to the RV and a camera positioned on the RV's front passenger seat.
Actor-writer-director Albert Brooks has said in a 2012 interview for "The Essentials" that he started working on this film about two years after his previous picture Modern Romance (1981) whom he also co-wrote with this film's co-writer Monica Mcgowan Johnson.
Drive (2011) director Nicolas Winding Refn has said he cast Albert Brooks as a gangster in Drive (2011) because when Refn saw Brooks in this film as a teenager, he got really frightened by Brooks in the scene where he screams at his wife (Julie Hagerty). Refn said in an interview with 'LA Weekly' in September 2011 that "Albert was like a volcano of emotions. There was something really unique-and threatening. I felt that this guy, eventually, he will kill somebody-so let's make it in a movie."
Reportedly, Seinfeld (1989)'s Larry David once revealed in an interview with 'Laugh Factory' magazine during the 1990s that he he had to keep working hard on the comedy sitcom because when he first was married to his wife, they went to Las Vegas and blew all their money just like the couple did in this movie.